Implementation of a Peer HIV Community Support Worker Program in Rural Ethiopia to Promote Retention in Care

Alan R. Lifson, Sale Workneh, Abera Hailemichael, Workneh Demisse, Lucy Slater, Tibebe Shenie
2016 Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care  
Retention in care is a major challenge for HIV treatment programs, including in rural and in resource-limited settings. To help reduce loss to follow-up (LTFU) for HIV-infected patients new to care in rural Ethiopia, 142 patients were assigned 1 of 13 trained community health support workers (CHSWs) who were HIV positive and from the same neighborhood/village. The CHSWs provided HIV and health education, counseling/social support, and facilitated communication with the HIV clinics. With 7
more » ... and 3 transfers, the 12-month retention rate was 94% (95% CI ¼ 89%-97%), and no client was LTFU in the project. Between enrollment and 12 months, clients had significant (P .001) improvements in HIV knowledge (17% increase), physical and mental quality of life (81% and 21% increase), internalized stigma (97% decrease), and perceived social support (24% increase). In rural and resource-limited settings, community-based CHSW programs can complement facilitybased care in reducing LTFU and improving positive outcomes for HIV-infected people who enter care.
doi:10.1177/2325957415614648 pmid:26518590 fatcat:fqh7np64n5brngskv4so5ucoom